Based on our corporate mission of empowering people and society through innovation, the Rakuten Group strives to address challenges facing society by leveraging our assets hand in hand with our stakeholders.
- We conduct and support social initiatives that are in line with our corporate mission, focusing on areas defined through engagement with our stakeholders.
- We aim to create positive social impact in collaboration with various stakeholders by leveraging Rakuten's assets, including our services, technologies and employees.
- We support our employees’ involvement in social initiatives and implement mechanisms that facilitate their participation.
Social Initiatives at Rakuten
We launched Rakuten Ichiba in 1997 with the aim of providing opportunities for local businesses to expand their markets nationwide and to encourage the sustainable growth of local communities leveraging the power of the internet. Since founding, Rakuten has dedicated itself to contributing to society through its diverse businesses.
In 2008, we started the Rakuten IT School, which teaches the basics of e-commerce to high school students across Japan. This was followed by the launch of the Rakuten Clutch Special Charity Fund, an online donation system,in2011. In the following years, Rakuten has continued to empower people and society by progressively leveraging the diversified assets of the growing Rakuten Ecosystem.
In 2018, Rakuten rolled out Rakuten IT School NEXT, which offers students the opportunity to design the future of their local communities, and the Rakuten Social Accelerator program, a collaborative initiative with the social sector. Rakuten also signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2021, aimed at contributing to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through international cooperation.
Together with our diverse stakeholders, we will continue to bring value that drives positive social impact through collaboration and co-creation.
Focus areas, and related project examples:
- Innovation through International Cooperation: see "Comprehensive Corporation Agreement with JICA"
- Making Donations More Accessible with the Power of ICT: see "Rakuten Clutch Special Charity Fund"
- Leveraging Social Sector Activities with Employee Skills: see "Rakuten Social Accelerator"
- Next Generation Empowerment: see "Rakuten IT School NEXT"
Facilitating Employee Participation
While our social initiatives aim to drive positive change in society, they also make a positive impact on participating employees, who get to take part in the empowerment of our stakeholders and experience Rakuten’s mission, vision and value firsthand. Being able to contribute to society is in fact one of the main reasons many employees join Rakuten, and this is why we offer programs and opportunities that encourage employee participation in social initiatives.
In 2019, we introduced a special leave of up to five days for a fixed period of time to support employees joining recovery efforts following natural disasters, including a series of heavy rains and typhoons that struck Japan. In March 2020, this special leave became permanently available, not only for natural disasters but also for public service activities organized by non-profit organizations. In 2021, many employees took this leave to participate as volunteers in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Social Empowerment Community
Rakuten has an internal community of employees who are interested in contributing to society, as well as learning about social issues. This community aims to offer ways for employees to connect by discussing sustainability through online and offline events, newsletters and a dedicated communication platform. In previously held online events, employees have learned about fair trade, disaster prevention, diversity, ESG investing, SDGs, sustainable lifestyles and more. In 2021, 732 employees participated in online events.
Dialogue for Change with Rakuten
Launched in 2022, we're looking to join hands with a range of diverse stakeholders to bring about social change and a positive impact on the future through the power of dialogue. By turning this dialogue into concrete actions, we plan to promote new values and a new vision for the future. The event's inaugural topic of dialogue is Women's Leadership and Empowerment. In July 2022, we held a workshop in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, bringing together a diverse group of dialogue partners, including six teams of Rakuten employees, government and NPO workers and high school students.
Rakuten Social Accelerator (RSA)
Rakuten Social Accelerator (RSA) is a social innovation program launched in 2018 that brings together various stakeholders and Rakuten employees to tackle social issues by leveraging our technologies and other assets. The program addresses social challenges, aiming to generate concrete output that leads to social impact, with the support of Rakuten employees – who bring their experience in a variety of fields – and diverse stakeholders. In 2021, this collaborative program was conducted online and continued connecting employees with eight different organizations across Japan.
Initiatives that Leverage Rakuten's Assets
Rakuten Clutch Special Charity Fund
The Rakuten Clutch Special Charity Fund is an online donation system that allows users to make donations through the various methods offered by our payment services, including Rakuten Points.
It was launched following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, in response to requests from many people who wanted to support disaster-hit areas. Since its launch, various disaster and humanitarian relief efforts have been supported, including COVID-19 crisis response efforts.
Comprehensive Corporation Agreement with JICA
In 2021, Rakuten Group, Inc. and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a comprehensive collaboration agreement aimed at solving development challenges faced by emerging countries, and contributing to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through international cooperation.
With this agreement, JICA and Rakuten are collaborating on the following initiatives, drawing from each organization’s institutional knowledge and human resources, as well as IT and other technological expertise.
Promotion of innovation that contributes to solving developmental challenges faced by emerging countries using IT and other technologies.
- Sustainable Lifestyle
Facilitating the understanding of the SDGs and modifying consumer habits through the promotion of sustainable consumption and lifestyle choices.
Creation of new international multi-stakeholder collaborations and partnerships.
Rakuten Viber, Rakuten’s free, secure messaging and communications app, has been working with various organizations to tackle social issues by leveraging its features as a communication platform. In 2020, it partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to share accurate information about COVID-19. As part of its efforts with the WHO, Rakuten Viber set up a chatbot on the application to provide people around the world with the latest news, statistics, prevention methods and quizzes in multiple languages, and also created downloadable stickers to recognize healthcare workers’ efforts in fighting the pandemic.
Rakuten Viber’s efforts with the IFRC also included sharing information about COVID-19, as well as providing stickers to encourage compassion, solidarity and volunteer participation among users.
Data on Philanthropic Activities
Total number of hours volunteered
Total amount of donations collected through Rakuten Clutch Special Charity Fund
- Hours volunteered in 2021